As we start heading into the winter season, let’s take a close look at some iconic depictions of cardinals by the famous Modern naturalist Charley Harper. The cardinal, which is the Ohio state bird, is one of Harper’s best known and most loved subjects, and several of these prints are dramatic winter scenes featuring the brightly colored bird.
Charley Harper was born in Frenchton, West Virginia and came to Cincinnati to attend the Art Academy. During his long and distinguished career, he illustrated numerous books, most notably The Golden Book of Biology and Betty Crocker’s Cooking for Two, magazines such as Ford Times, as well as many prints, posters, murals, and other works. Harper’s work focused on the natural environment, and Harper often created works for nature-based organizations, among them the National Park Service; Cincinnati Zoo; Cincinnati Nature Center; Hamilton County, Ohio Park District; and Hawk Mountain Sanctuary in Pennsylvania.
Harper was best known for his highly stylized wildlife prints, posters and book illustrations. He called his style “minimal realism,” capturing the essence of his subjects with the fewest possible visual elements. Using graphic shapes and bold colors, Harper distilled and simplified complex elements. His nature-oriented artwork is often contrasted with the realism of John James Audubon and the simplicity found in Inuit Art.
Cincinnati-based Fabulous Frames & Art is a family-owned business and the world’s largest dealer in the work of Charley Harper, including books, serigraphs, lithographs, giclee prints, and posters. We are proud to also carry work by Charley’s wife Edie Harper and their son Brett Harper.